Leveraging digital tools to improve security and employee productivity when working remotely

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With working from home (WFH) and hybrid work arrangements remaining the default practice for many organisations in Singapore this year, employers are continuously working towards supporting their workers better – whether in the office or at home.

There have been plenty of discussions on providing support for employee’s health and mental well-being, but how are employers ensuring employees are getting the support they need to be productive and safe from malicious cyber activities at work?

When GetApp interviewed 400 employees based in Singapore to better understand the challenges they face when working remotely, one of the most surprising finding was that 83% of employees surveyed reported using their own devices, personal accounts and productivity tools for work.

This is a concerning figure because employees face significant risk when using their own devices and personal accounts, which lacks the security build that office systems usually provide, thus leaving them vulnerable to potential cyberattacks.

Employers could do more to improve security— 49% of employees say

The recent Singtel data breach caused nearly 130,000 customers’ personal information to be leaked— alerting businesses across Singapore to review their security systems.

Not only does the incident serve as a reminder of how volatile the cyber space can be, it also heightens the need for enterprises of all sizes to ensure a secure and trustworthy IT system that is up to date.

According to the GetApp survey, more than half (64%) of the respondents believe that employers should do more to improve existing cyber security measures or systems in place.

Cybercrime accounted for 26.8% of overall crime in Singapore in 2019 and this number could increase with many businesses being more at a risk after moving their IT infrastructure and applications onto the public cloud to adapt to WFH last year.

Hence, there is a pertinent need for businesses of all sizes to implement better security controls – by providing adequate devices and software tools – to safeguard the safety and privacy of their workforce.

Lack of digital support for employees can lead to security concerns 

Based on the survey findings, internet connectivity and speed issues have been cited to be a significant challenge for over half (51%) of respondents.

Additionally, over a third (35%) also said they face delayed response time from their IT support.  

These results point towards the urgent need for additional support from business leaders to help employees adapt better to working from home arrangements, enabling them to work anywhere, at any time.

Beyond providing devices that are secured, it’s crucial that companies provide employees secure software and that allows them to access critical applications and data safely.

Furthermore, companies should also consider bolstering their IT support that can cater to the challenges remote workers face.

Majority of employees had to source their own productivity tools

Many employees (83%) are using their own productivity tools to ease their individual workflow.

Among them are personal messaging apps (WhatsApp and Telegram) to collaborate with colleagues and video conferencing (Zoom and Google Meet). Some even had to use their own devices such as smartphones and laptops.  

The use of personal devices and tools poses the question of whether private data remains secure within the company’s ecosystem.

Furthermore, it also reflects how organisations might be falling short in providing optimal tools for employees to be most productive.

A solution to this situation can be to implement digital tools that allow workers to be more productive and also keep the company’s privacy and security while working remotely.

Beyond security systems in place

Even though close to one-third of respondents (28%) ranked collaboration software as the second most important productivity tool, more than a third of them (32%) rarely or never use it.

Thriving in today’s digital age requires businesses to adopt and invest in the right security software, devices and collaboration tools that help employees excel at work.

Equipping them with the right software and devices help foster productivity and collaboration, as well as prevent data breaches that could exploit the company’s assets at the same time.

An effective digital and cybersecurity framework is important to help alleviate growing concerns on data security and protection while creating a safe work environment and protecting employee’s work and business interest.

There is never a better time to provide the right tools and devices to empower employees and set them up for success in the current work environment many of us are still trying to navigate.

Further details of the survey is available here.

About author:

Sonia Navarrete

Sonia has worked in technology for the past eight years and has a background in media and content. She has experience working with global corporations in cloud, security, software and other technology products. At GetApp, a Gartner company, Sonia is providing relevant insights to leaders and SME owners to help them make the best decision in software for their businesses.

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/sonia-navarrete-9b455121

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SoniaNM55

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